Tests also find a hole in his heart, but the rocker is expected to make full recovery

By Mike Fleeman
May 20, 2010 05:50 PM
Gus Ruelas/AP

Bret Michaels suffered a serious setback in his recovery from a brain hemorrhage, experiencing a small “warning stroke” that sent him to the hospital, where tests then revealed he also has a hole in his heart.

Both conditions are treatable and are not believed to be connected to his subarachnoid hemorrhage. But his doctor questioned whether Michaels can return as hoped to the May 23 finale of Celebrity Apprentice or to a concert on May 28.

“Without a doubt he is very determined to get healthy and make a 100 percent recovery. Medically speaking it is a fantastic attitude both mentally and physically for him to have,” neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Zabramski says on Michaels’s Web site. “However, Bret’s brain and body are not quite 100 percent yet, especially with the hole found in his heart.”

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Michaels’s rep, Jann Elias, says the 47-year-old rocker is “in good spirits, great medical hands and is positive and hopeful that everything is going to be okay.”

As for his condition Elias says, “He is up, walking, talking, continuing his daily rehab and very happy to be alive but he has made it clear he is sick and tired of being in the hospital and is ready to rock again.”

According to his doctor, Michaels was readmitted to the hospital this week after experiencing numbness on the left side of his body, particularly to his face and hands.

He was diagnosed with suffering a Transient Ischemic Attack, or TIA, described as a mini-stroke or warning stroke that causes stroke-like syptoms but doesn’t cause lasting neurological damage. MRI and CT scans then discovered that Michaels had a hole in his heart.

“There is no doubt that [this] is devastating news to Bret and his family,” says Zabramski. “The good news is that it is operable and treatable and we think we may have diagnosed the problem that caused the Transient Ischemic Attack.”

The most recent problems were probably linked to the brain hemorrhage and a recent appendectomy. “Once again it is great that he quickly reacted to the severe numbness and got to the hospital immediately,” the doctor says.

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